I was in Norfolk last week for a few days, staying in a cottage in the Scratby area with the wife's family. I enjoy it there - the beaches are quiet, the walks are flat, and the weather was on my side. The only bad thing about the area is that there isn't much beer variety in the many pubs - I was usually stuck with a choice between Adnams or Woodforde's. Even at the Wetherspoons in Great Yarmouth, the aptly named Troll Cart, I ended up having a pint of Woodforde's Nog, a straight forward old ale from the reliable if dull Norfolk brewer.
One pub highlight of the trip was the Never Turn Back, nestled between two holiday home parks in Caister-On-Sea. My father-in-law and I enjoyed a pleasant hour long walk along the beach to enjoy a refreshing pint here. The fun begins outside the pub, which is built in the typical 1930's style of pubs owned by the Lacons Brewery who were (and now thanks to a recent resurrection, are) based in Great Yarmouth. The striking building looks more like the control centre for some ominous 50's British technology than a pub, although it is has a certain charm about it and there's a lovely large beer garden out the front.
The landlord was busy on the lawnmower when we arrived at 12pm, and told us he'd open up at 12:30pm, so we had a look around the caravan parks, playing on the two penny pushers inside the on site arcade, where I failed to win any additional beer tokens. We duly popped back at 12:30pm and the pub was ready for business. It's in the Good Beer Guide and the pint of Adnams (sigh) Bitter was in excellent form, and very much needed after the long walk along the beach in the hot sun. Still feeling a bit thirsty I had probably my sixth pint of Adnams Ghost Ship of the trip, which again was in very good nick. When it's well kept Ghost Ship is an refreshing, hoppy pint that I have a bit of a fondness for.
A selection of food and bar snacks was available and we settled for a hot dog and cheesy chips - it ain't fine dining but it fills a gap. The interior of the pub is very cosy, with plenty of comfortable bench seating, nick nacks scattered about the place, and a small exhibit on how the pub got its somewhat unique name. On reporting on a botched lifeboat rescue in 1906, where nine men from the Caister lifeboat team lost their lives, the phrase "Caister men never turn back" was coined. Model lifeboats scattered around the pub set the theme, and the lifeboat station is only a five minute walk away from the pub. This excellent seaside boozer is well worth seeking out if you're in the area.
Another pub to get an honorable mention is the Jolly Farmers, an Enterprise tied house in picturesque Ormesby St Margaret. With a traditional wood paneled interior, selection of well kept ales (including the inevitable Adnams Ghost Ship and Woodforde's Wherry) and decent food, this would be an excellent stop for refreshment if enjoying a walk through the area. There's even a pool table.
There may not be all that much to do in this area of England, but sometimes fresh air, a long walk and welcoming pubs is just what is required from a short break. Looking forward to returning to Norfolk next year.
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